AMERICAN NOTES: Of Politics and Change

Do elections change society? The idea that they do is the very foundation of Senator George McGovern's campaign against Richard Nixon. But the notion is chimerical, according to Journalist Garry Wills, author of Nixon Agonistes; elections merely ratify social change, he insists, they do not create it. In the current issue of the Center magazine, Wills observes: "Cultural change is supposed to come about through our democratic political system. That is a lot of nonsense. Insofar as changes occur, they occur between elections ... when a lot of people take stands on issues and when politicians then find they...